Fishermen are tinkerers by nature. Give us a good bait that catches fish, and someone’s going to find some way to change it; either adapt it for a specific scenario, or to make it more efficient at one specific thing.
Whether it’s something as complicated as adding red pipe-cleaner gills to a swimbait or as simple as going one size up on treble hooks, odds are someone’s attempted to alter pretty much every bait on the market.
Skirted jigs may seem simple, something that probably makes them an even more attractive target for bait tinkerers. Here are three common modifications that will help you put more jig fish in the boat.
1. Shorten the skirt
The skirt of a jig, combined with the trailer, give the jig its profile. By shortening the skirt to just past the bend of the hook, you create a smaller, more compact profile. By doing so, the jig will flare more, fall faster, and offer a more finesse profile, which can help get a few extra bites on today’s pressured waters.
2. Thin out the weed guard
Most jigs come with a strong, 20-40 strand fiber weed guard that’s designed to keep the jig snag-free as it comes through cover. On many jigs though, the manufacturer has taken that to the extreme, and the weed guard is so dense that it starts affecting your hooking percentage. By cutting off a quarter to half the strands right where they leave the jig’s head, you can dramatically increase your hooking percentage while maintaining the ability to fish cleanly through all but the heaviest cover.
3. Wire tie the skirt
If you’re a jig fisherman, you’ve more than likely made a flip and had the bait come back with the skirt pulled down on the hook. That happens because most jig manufacturers use a traditional band to secure the skirt, which is not a permanent solution. To ensure that your skirt stays in place, take a 4 inch piece of thin diameter craft wire and wrap it around the skirt just over the band. Using a needle-nose pliers or wire twister, tighten the wire by grabbing the twist and spinning the jig in the direction of the twist. It will cinch down, ensuring you never waste another cast by adjusting the skirt.
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